Top positive review
“WE’RE TRESPASSING DOWN MEMORY LANE”
Reviewed in the United States on January 2, 2019
Just one beautiful line from FRECKLED, Toby Neal’s long-awaited memoir of growing up in the 1970s counterculture community of Kaua’i. This is the book that Toby Neal was born to write, and it’s the story that her friends and fans have been waiting to read for years. IT DOES NOT DISAPPOINT. It’s a story of idealistic, though self-absorbed young parents, trying to carve out a perfect life in paradise. It’s also the story of grinding poverty, failed dreams and heartbreaking love. All this from the perspective of a strong, intelligent child, whose personal resourcefulness saves her from simply falling, herself, into a life of substance abuse and desperation.
Hearing bits and pieces of the story of her unusual childhood over the years, did not prepare me for the full picture of what Toby experienced and survived. When laid out chronologically, her story is nothing short of a page-turner.
In her afterword, Toby describes the time and effort that were expended in order to bring this book to fruition. And yet, I read it in one day, because I had to know what god awful thing her family would chose to endure next.
Good lord! Had this been a work of fiction, I’m pretty sure an editor would say, “Come on, give me a break. No one will believe the story of a family moving back and forth from Kaua’i to California, over and over and over, from one desperate situation to the next. Who does that to themselves? To their children?”
And what an offbeat motif: the rebellious mouthy firstborn child, whose clear-eyed critique of her parents lifestyle means that her personal rebellion takes the form of seeking normalcy!
The writing is beautiful, brutally honest and often soul-scorching.
Toby acknowledges the influence of Don’t Let’s Go To The Dogs Tonight, and lovers of that memoir will, indeed, love this memoir. Thank you, Toby, for so generously sharing your life with us.